White Perch - The white perch, Morone americana, actually do not belong to the perch or Percidae family of fishes but instead scientists classify them as Moronidae, members of the temperate bass family. Possessing completely silver bodies, white perch look similar to juvenile striped bass but with a slight humpback appearance and no stripes. A hard, scaly body along with a dorsal fin, containing several sharp spines, works to protect the fish from predators and stands to provide unsuspecting anglers with an unpleasant surprise.
White perch range from Nova Scotia to South Carolina and have been illegally introduced into the Great Lakes, causing destruction to native fish species. A voracious feeder, white perch can easily consume so many fish eggs and fry that they can effectively take over an entire landlocked body of water.
A delectable species of game fish, anglers pursue white perch with intensity and frequently enjoy catching average specimens measuring 8-9 inches and weighing 1 pound.
In 2009, Daniel Dolloff pulled a trophy 3.24-pound white perch from the waters of Ellis Pond in Brooks, Maine and it currently stands as the state record.
White perch migrate throughout April to June into tidal fresh and slightly brackish waters to spawn. Mating occurs with females first releasing a sticky, gelatinous mass of over 150,000 eggs that adheres itself to the first thing it touches. During the weeklong spawning season, males in the area then release milt around the eggs to fertilize them. Eggs and sperm are randomly mixed and 1 to 6 days after fertilization, the young hatch. Juveniles hide in protected inshore estuaries and creeks, feeding on aquatic insects and small crustaceans until old enough to school together with adults in open water. White perch typically live 9-10 years with some bruisers living as long as 15 years!
Wildlife Quiz Questions:
1. Are white perch members of the “perch” family of game fish?
2. What is the primary defense weapon of the white perch?
3. What is the native range of the white perch?
4. Do white perch exist in the great lakes?
5. What was the weight of the biggest white perch caught in Maine?
6. What is the average weight of an adult white perch?
7. When is the mating season for the white perch?
8. What is the average life span of a white perch?
9. How long does it take after fertilization for white perch eggs to hatch?
Wildlife Quiz Answers:
1. No, perch are not members of the “perch” or Percidae family of fishes but rather classified as Moronidae, members of the temperate bass family.
2. The primary defense weapon of the white perch is a dorsal fin, containing several sharp spines that protect the fish from predators.
3. The native range of the white perch runs from Nova Scotia to South Carolina.
4. White perch do exist in the great lakes where they were illegally introduced.
5. The biggest white perch caught in Maine weighed 3.24 pounds.
6. The average weight of an adult white perch is 1 pound.
7. The mating season for the white perch runs from April to June.
8. The average life span of a white perch is 9-10 years.
9. After fertilization white perch eggs hatch in 1-6 days.